Covid-19 now designated a pandemic

The World Health Organisation has declared the Covid-19 coronavirus a pandemic.

Current WHO global phase of pandemic alert: Avian Influenza A(H5N1)

Current phase of global alert according to criteria described in the WHO Pandemic Influenza Risk Management Interim Guidance

The pandemic influenza phases reflect WHO’s risk assessment of the global situation regarding each influenza virus with pandemic potential that is infecting humans. These assessments are made initially when such viruses are identified and are updated based on evolving virological, epidemiological and clinical data. The phases provide a high-level, global view of the evolving picture.

As pandemic viruses emerge, countries and regions face different risks at different times. For that reason, countries are strongly advised to develop their own national risk assessments based on local circumstances, taking into consideration the information provided by the global assessments produced by WHO. Risk management decisions by countries are therefore expected to be informed by global risk assessments, but based on local risk assessments.

The current WHO phase of pandemic alert for avian influenza A(H5N1) is: ALERT

Alert phase: This is the phase when influenza caused by a new subtype1 has been identified in humans. Increased vigilance and careful risk assessment, at local, national and global levels, are characteristic of this phase. If the risk assessments indicate that the new virus is not developing into a pandemic strain, a de-escalation of activities towards those in the interpandemic phase may occur.

Please consult the interim guidance document for complete information on pandemic phases:

More information on avian influenza H5N1 in humans can be found at the:

1 The IHR (2005) Annex 2 includes “human influenza caused by a new subtype” among the four specified diseases for which a case is necessarily considered “unusual or unexpected and may have serious public health impact, and thus shall be notified” in all circumstances to WHO.

On Tuesday Wall Street partly recovered from Monday’s large decline, but so far Wednesday it is sliding again, so far down by 5%.

This is said to be partly in reaction to the announcement, and partly due to the muddled messages and slow reaction by the Trump administration.

MarketWatch: Dow tumbles 1,200 points, stocks extend slide after WHO declares coronavirus a pandemic

Stocks extended losses Wednesday after the World Health Organization designated the global spread of COVID-19 a pandemic, building on declines attributed partly to disappoint over prospects for a quick round of fiscal stimulus to cushion the U.S. economy from the effects of the outbreak.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday a robust economic stimulus won’t be able to pass Congress quickly and he threw his support behind a smaller measure designed to help small businesses and workers grappling with the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, policy makers abroad have begun to take action to ease the pressure on businesses, with the Bank of England delivering an emergency interest rate cut and the U.K. government pledging fiscal stimulus in its budget Wednesday, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to do “whatever is necessary” and the European Central Bank’s president warned of an economic shock like the 2008 financial crisis.

Investors have called for more focused measures by the U.S. Congress and the White House to support businesses and corporations that could suffer a sharp decline in revenues if consumer spending drops. Until Wall Street gains clarity on what a spending package might look like, investor sentiment could remain shaky, analysts said.

Clarity is not one of Trump’s strengths. Of course tyhere is a tweet from Trump praising what he uis doiung.


Publicly, he sees it as yet another (“Fake News”) media war; privately, he worries about virus-carrying journalists on Air Force One. But cancel his rallies?

Ever since the coronavirus exploded outside of China at the end of January, Donald Trump has treated the public health crisis as a media war that he could win with the right messaging. But with cases now documented in 34 states and markets plunging, Republicans close to Trump fear his rosy assessments are fundamentally detached from reality in ways that will make the epidemic worse. “He is trying to control the narrative and he can’t,” a former West Wing official told me.

The problem is that the crisis fits into his preexisting and deeply held worldview—that the media is always searching for a story to bring him down. Covid-19 is merely the latest instance, and he’s reacting in familiar ways. “So much FAKE NEWS!” Trump tweeted this morning. “He wants Justice to open investigations of the media for market manipulation,” a source close to the White House told me. Trump is also frustrated with his West Wing for not getting a handle on the news cycle. “He’s very frustrated he doesn’t have a good team around him,” a former White House official said. On Friday he forced out acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and replaced him with former House Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows. Trump thought the virus was “getting beyond Mick,” a person briefed on the internal discussions said. Trump has also complained that economic adviser Larry Kudlow is not doing enough to calm jittery markets.

I don’t know if it can be called a meltdown, it looks like normal Trump – too easily distracted by petty attacks.

He shouldn’t be wasting time on stuff like that, but he is unlikely to stop obsessing about and ranting about the media.

Reuters: White House told federal health agency to classify coronavirus deliberations

The White House has ordered federal health officials to treat top-level coronavirus meetings as classified, an unusual step that has restricted information and hampered the government’s response to the contagion, according to four Trump administration officials.

After a rise the NZX ended up slightly down yesterday and will likely follow the US market down again today.

No official releases from the New Zealand Government (Beehive) on the virus yesterday.

Reuters: WHO calls coronavirus a pandemic as Britain, Italy shore up defenses

“We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction,” Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva.

“We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” he said, using the formal name of the coronavirus.

There are now more than 118,000 infections in 114 countries and 4,291 people have died of the virus, with the numbers expected to climb, Tedros said.

Before the WHO’s comments, Italy – the European country worst hit by the virus – and Britain announced they were setting aside large sums to fight the flu-like disease.

Britain launched a 30-billion-pound ($38.54 billion) economic stimulus plan as new finance minister Rishi Sunak said the economy faced a “significant impact” from the spread of the virus, even if it was likely to be temporary.

“Up to a fifth of the working-age population could need to be off work at any one time. And business supply chains are being disrupted around the globe,” Sunak said in an annual budget speech to parliament.

It looks to be a long way from over.


Leave a comment


  1. Reply
    • Duker

       /  12th March 2020

      No Australia isnt a virus hot spot like the countries that we have travel restrictions with.
      Brislen isnt a pandemic expert either, just a journo

  2. Reply
  3. Meanwhile Trump has ordered federal health officials in America to treat top-level coronavirus meetings as classified.

    “The White House insistence on secrecy at the nation’s premier public health organization, which has not been previously disclosed, has put a lid on certain information – and potentially delayed the response to the crisis… Health & Human Services staffers often weren’t informed about coronavirus developments because they didn’t have adequate clearance.”

    Transparency and fact-based public policy are central to mitigating the effects of pandemics. Instead this dumpster-fire of a presidency has politicised COVID-19 as a Democrat hoax and as a result the virus is spreading faster in America than the ability to test.

    There’s an old saw that when America sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold. Trumps incompetence puts the rest of us at a greater risk of catching a lot more than a common cold.

    • Pink David

       /  12th March 2020

      COVID-19 is a far less harmful virus than your ideas.

      • at least I’m washing my hands… of Trump 😀

        • Pink David

           /  12th March 2020

          I’m sure the US will be confident under the leadership of [please use proper names for politicians]

          • Pink David

             /  12th March 2020

            My humble apologies, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  12th March 2020

              He CAN’T be called Robinette ! That’s a girl’s name.

            • Pink David

               /  12th March 2020

              Now Kitty, your CIS binary worldview is on show. If Robinette want to be Robinette, she is perfectly entitled too.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  13th March 2020

              His parents must have been a bit dim. I bet that he never heard the end of it at school.

  4. Gezza

     /  12th March 2020

    “President Donald Trump has announced he is suspending all travel between the United States and Europe for 30 days beginning Friday as he seeks to combat a viral pandemic.

    Trump made the announcement in an Oval Office address to the nation, blaming the European Union for not acting quickly enough to address the novel coronavirus and saying US clusters were “seeded” by European travellers.

    Trump said the restrictions won’t apply to the United Kingdom and the US would monitor the situation to determine if travel could be reopened earlier.

    Trump said “we are marshalling the full power” of the government and private sector to protect the American people.”

  5. Kitty Catkin

     /  12th March 2020

    I was in Pak & Save today and although they were out of cheap loo paper, there was plenty there. I didn’t look for water, I wasn’t that interested, but did see that there were spaces in the tissues.

    No one was wearing masks, veils, nets or anything else in that line or coating themselves with sanitiser. I heard someone in a cafe saying that people in Australia were returning loo paper and asking for refunds…and being refused.


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